Claire Smith

My passion for the environment means I can make a real difference

By Claire Smith

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02:14 MIN

Transcript

My background is in science, and I trained as an environmental consultant. However, I found that many of the interesting developments were at a policy or at a legislation level rather than at a technical level. So a legal career in the environment, climate change and planning space made perfect sense to me.

As a partner in the Environment and Planning Group, I have a practice that covers litigation, advisory, projects and transactions. This area of law is extremely diverse and constantly changing, which aligns well with my core values which include a need to be challenged and innovative.

Clayton Utz has a fantastic client base for an environment and planning practitioner. In fact, we have arguably the strongest major projects practice and government practice in Australia, and are one of the top environment and planning groups. By remaining independent we have retained our cultural values and importantly, cemented our position as one of the Government's key trusted advisors.

Of the many projects I've worked on, one of the most rewarding was collaborating on the development of the CU SAFE app. It's designed to allow a broad range of people to respond quickly and methodically to serious environment and safety incidents, and has already had over 3,000 downloads.

My role as legal advisor to the Bangaroo Delivery Authority is another career highlight, contributing to the harbour side precinct project in Sydney. Carbon neutral, Bangaroo is destined to become one of the world's most sustainable developments. 

I was also proud to be involved in pro bono work for the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defence. This involved conducting a detailed legislative and policy review examining how the Great Barrier Reef is protected and regulated. The work was fed into a global project that's mapped out strengths and weaknesses in current legal frameworks. The ultimate purpose is to improve regulatory safeguards for the remaining coral reefs in South America.

People ask me how I can work for a big commercial firm when I care so much about the environment.  The truth is I'm an environmental pragmatist at heart who believes strongly in having good regulatory frameworks that protect the environment but also encourages sustainable development.

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Alison Tassiou

Alison Tassiou

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